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Cerebral Haemorrhage

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When an artery inside the brain bursts out; it causes localized bleeding and eventual death of brain cells. So bleeding in and around the cerebrum or the brain is cerebral haemorrhage.

Symptoms of cerebral haemorrhage

The symptoms depend on the location of the haemorrhage and show up gradually. They may become worse within a few hours to few days.

  • Severe headache as if the nerves of the head are tensed
  • Weakness in the body
  • Numbness in different parts of the body
  • Problems in vision
  • Loss of balance
  • Difficulty in coordination, speaking and understanding
  • Trembling of hands and legs
  • Sudden seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • nausea and vomiting

Causes of Cerebral Haemorrhage

  • brain trauma or brain injury
  • High blood pressure
  • Bleeding disorders like sickle cell anaemia and haemophilia
  • amyloid protein deposits along the walls of blood vessels in old people
  • Aneurysm – weakness in blood vessel wall that swells and bursts
  • Arteriovenous malformation (AVM)-  abnormal anatomy of the cerebral blood vessels

Complication of Brain Haemorrhage

The complications depend on the extent of the haemorrhage and the time lapse between onset of treatment. If bleeding is not controlled quickly then risk factors include:

  • stroke
  • brain damage or loss of brain function
  • coma
  • death

Diagnosis of Brain Haemorrhage

Rush to medical help if you experience the aforementioned symptom. If your doctor suspects a haemorrhage, then you need to undergo the following confirmatory tests:

  • CT  scan  and MRI of the brain
  • Angiogram is done to check blood flow inside the brain arteries
  • Neurological exam or optical exam is performed to diagnose abnormality in optic nerve  

Treatment of Cerebral Haemorrhage

The doctor examines the test reports carefully and then proceeds towards stabilization of the patient first. This includes normalizing the blood pressure and ventilation support to ensure that the brain is receiving adequate oxygen.

The patient may be kept in ICU under emergency condition, where his/her heart rate, pressure, oxygen levels and feeding are constantly monitored.

In the meanwhile, the doctor will determine what kind of treatment is needed which depends on the location, cause and size of the haemorrhage.

Cerebral haemorrhage can be managed with medicines targeted to normalizing the pressure inside the skull, reduce blood pressure and to prevent seizure. The three categories of medicines generally used are:

  • Osmotic diuretics - decrease intracranial pressure
  • Anticonvulsants - prevent seizure recurrence
  • Antihypertensive agents - reduce BP and other risk factors of heart disease

Surgery is one option to reduce the swelling and treat the abnormality formed in the blood vessels.

Can a person recover from cerebral haemorrhage?

Studies show that about 30- 60% of patients with brain haemorrhage die. This happens when the trauma is too severe to recover from and due to delayed treatment.

However, recovery is absolutely possible when the patient receives proper medical support in right time. It takes time to show improvement as the effectiveness of the treatment is also dependent on how well the patient is responding.

Can Cerebral Haemorrhage be prevented?

Managing your lifestyle and taking extra precaution can save you from cerebral haemorrhage. Follow the guide below:

  • Wear helmet while riding bikes and working in construction sites, etc.
  • Fasten your seat belts while driving
  • Manage high blood pressure and hypertension
  • Eat low fat, low carb and cholesterol free foods
  • Consume drugs carefully, consult with doctor and know the side effects

We advise you once again, call emergency care immediately on experiencing the symptoms. To be on the safe side, get a scan done if you have injured your head out of falling or any other reason.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 17, 2015